Business groups have reacted with disappointment and anger to the announcement that further restrictions are to be implemented in Dublin for the next three weeks to stop the spread of Covid-19.

The Restaurants Association of Ireland said over 50,000 jobs will be lost across the hospitality sector this weekend as a result.

CEO of the RAI Adrian Cummins said: "Today's announcement by Government will cause an economic meltdown for the restaurants and hospitality sector in Dublin."

The organisation said that since 29 June, such businesses have implemented all of the guidelines and regulations in order to protect staff and customers, while sustaining their business and reacting to the ongoing economic turbulence. 

It claimed that since the launch of the Government's new living with Covid-19 framework, there has been absolutely no engagement from NPHET, the HSE or anyone in Government.

Publicans accused the Government of "ceding control of the country to NPHET" following the decision.

The Licensed Vintners Association said it now views the Government's new Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021 plan as null and void.

Donall O'Keeffe, chief executive of the LVA said: "They are closing down swathes of businesses in Dublin, pushing thousands of people out of work and yet NPHET admits they don't have any data to show where the infections are arising in Ireland.

"Despite that lack of data the Government has empowered them to inflict whatever guidelines they want without challenge."

While the drinks industry said pubs are being treated as political scapegoats and today's decision will likely drive many out of business.

Drinks Ireland claimed the measures announced today are ineffective, disproportionate and unfair.

Director of Drinks Ireland Patricia Callan said: "The hospitality sector should have been allowed to stay open in Dublin, or in the case of wet pubs reopen in a safe and sustainable manner."

The Government must stop unfairly targeting an entire industry that is already on its knees, treating the sector as a political scapegoat.

Retail Excellence criticised the less than 24 hours notice that its members had been given to react to the potential closure notice from the Government. 

It said this will lead to cafes and coffee shops now taking a big hit to turnover, a huge amount of food bought in for the weekend will go to waste and staff will be moved back to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

The body said the Revenue must now accelerate payments under the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme 

It also wants an accelerated independent arbitration process to deal with disputes between tenants and their commercial landlords.

Earlier, the CEO of employers' group Ibec said "it is a disgrace how people in the hospitality sector are being treated" under the Government's new Covid-19 framework.

Danny McCoy was speaking on RTÉ's Today with Claire Byrne ahead of the tightening of Covid-19 restrictions in Dublin.

He also called for NPHET to provide evidence to show that restaurants and bars that serve food pose a higher risk than that of congregation in people's homes.

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